Jethro Tull - Benefit (A Collector's Edition...)

Year of Release: 2013
Label: Chrysalis/Parlaphone
Catalog Number: 537449
Format: CD-DVD
Total Time: 00:00:00

[Keith initially posted this to Prog Rock Review in January 2014; it would have been reposted here then but for our unplanned hibernation - ed.]

I have been having the time of my life lately, immersing myself in the world and music of Jethro Tull. I got the 4 DVD concert set for Christmas, then prior to that received a recent book that was published about the band (which I am currently absorbing), and now I have the pleasure of taking in another remastered JT album. Again Steven Wilson was hired to come in and give their classic Benefit release the full treatment.

Benefit was originally released in 1970 prior to them becoming international stars with Aqualung. The general feeling among longtime fans and rock historians is that Benefit was a greatly underappreciated and overlooked studio recording. One would have to agree that this is not one album that immediately comes to mind when the discussion is around Jethro Tull. This release will force a lot listeners and critics alike to pay more attention.

After listening to this incredibly good remastered recording, I would have to say it was a great way to set up the band's fan base prior to unleashing Aqualung. I think this album is an underrated classic much like the wonderful War Child. Of course, this is a matter of opinion from a fan that has been listening to them since the 70s. This set is a tri-fold book style package that includes the original recording on one CD with five bonus tracks, the second disc includes newly remastered versions of rare tracks and singles recorded around the same time as Benefit, such as "Sweet Dream" in both stereo and mono. To some the repetitive nature of this format with various versions may become tiresome nevertheless it is interesting to hear the different variations.

The DVD is audio only, sorry no videos, which is available exclusively with this version. It is packed with 58 tracks, including the album and bonus tracks in 5.1 surround sound, which are absolutely amazing. It also contains the U.K and U.S. versions of the album. The American version was sequenced differently and replaced the U.K. track "Alive And Well And Living In" with "Teacher." In addition, the ultimate version is in detailed 5.1 surround sound. So many things that you never heard or noticed before will come popping out with a roar saying "Listen to me!" The package also includes an extensive booklet that is a very interesting account of the recording sessions and events surrounding it with input by band members and others in the entire process.

"Teacher (US album version) (stereo)" is one of the many bonus tracks. It offers more substance and fullness than its apparently understated UK counterpart, even though Wilson mentions in the liner notes that they were both taped at different pitches and that has been corrected to reflect the original intent of the sound, I still hear a difference between the two. As he mentioned, one of the versions was more ponderous, I believe it was the UK version, it sounds more subtle compared to the US version. Well, everyone's ears are different and I doubt there are ears in our universe like Wilson's otherwise why would he be doing this in the first place?

Moving on..."A Time for Everything? is a shining gem. It illustrates the evolution of the band and a precursor of what was to come. Wilson did a nice job bringing out Martin Barre's guitar on these tracks and I found it to be more noticeable and quite ear catching. "To Cry You A Song" is a hands down classic and it also receives the justice it deserves, as does the entire album in its entirety to be perfectly honest.

It is a lot of fun to compare and contrast all the different formats that are offered and the realization of how complex and diverse the band had become really hits home now more than ever. It does not come as a surprise that prog's old guard is turning to one of the younger more brilliant artist in the genre to remaster their music. King Crimson did it now its Jethro Tull's turn. I wish they would have had Wilson on board the team when they started all the remastering of their catalog years ago. No need to worry, I am sure there will much more to come and I stand ready to open my ears to whatever is next. I really did not think it was possible to appreciate this band more than I did but here I sit again feeling like there is always something new to hear and enjoy with each newly packaged release that finds its way to me. There is nothing here not to like if you are JT or prog rock fan.

Key Tracks: A Time for Everything?, To Cry You A Song, Teacher (US album version) (stereo)

Disc One: With You There To Help Me (6:18) / Nothing To Say (5:20) / Alive And Well And Living In (2:47) / Son (2:52) / For Michael Collins, Jeffrey And Me (3:50) / To Cry You A Song (6:14) / A Time For Everything? (2:44) / Inside (3:49) / Play In Time (3:53) / Sossity: You're A Woman (4:39) / Singing All Day (3:08) / Sweet Dream (4:05) / 17 (6:20) / Teacher (UK single version) (stereo) (4:57) / Teacher (US album version) (stereo) (4:05)

Disc Two: Singing All Day (mono)* (3:03) / Sweet Dream (mono) (4:02) / 17 (mono) (6:11) / Sweet Dream (stereo)* (4:03) / 17 (stereo)* (5:31) / The Witch's Promise (mono) (3:56) / Teacher (UK single version) (mono) (4:52) / Teacher (US album version) (mono) (3:57) / The Witch's Promise (stereo) (3:50) / Teacher (UK single version) (stereo) (4:46) / Teacher (US album version) (stereo) (3:56) / Inside (mono) (2:39) / Alive And Well And Living In (2:46) / A Time For Everything (mono) (2:43) / Reprise AM Radio Spot 1 (mono) (1:03) / Reprise FM Radio Spot 2 (stereo) (1:01)

Disc Three: DVD Audio: With You There To Help Me / DVD Audio: Nothing To Say / DVD Audio: Alive And Well And Living In / DVD Audio: Son / DVD Audio: For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me / DVD Audio: To Cry You A Song / DVD Audio: A Time for Everything? / DVD Audio: Inside / DVD Audio: Play In Time / DVD Audio: Sossity; You're A Woman / DVD Audio: Singing All Day / DVD Audio: Sweet Dream / DVD Audio: 17 / DVD Audio: Teacher (UK single version) (stereo) / DVD Audio: Teacher (US album version) (stereo)

Ian Anderson - balalaika, flute, guitars, Hammond organ, piano, vocals
Martin Barre - guitar
Clive Bunker - drums
Glen Cornick - bass, Hammond organ
John Evan - mellotron, organ, piano

This Was (1968)
Stand Up (1969)
Benefit (1970)
Aqualung (1971)
Thick As A Brick (1972)
Living In The Past (1972)
A Passion Play (1973)
War Child (1974)
Minstrel In The Gallery (1975)
M.U. The Best Of (1976)
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die (1976)
Songs From The Wood (1977)
Repeat - The Best Of Jethro Tull Vol 2 (1977)
Heavy Horses (1978)
Bursting Out - Live (1978)
Stormwatch (1979/2004)
'A' (1980)
The Broadsword And The Beast (1982/2005)
Under Wraps (1984)
Original Masters (1985)
Crest Of A Knave (1987/2005)
20 Years Of Jethro Tull (1988)
Rock Island (1988)
Catfish Rising (1991)
A Little Light Music (1992)
The Anniversary Collection (1993)
25th Anniversary Box Set (1993)
Nightcap (1995)
Roots To Branches (1995)
J-Tull Dot Com (1999)
The Very Best Of (2001)
Living With The Past (2002)
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)
Classic Masters (2003)
Stand Up/This Was (2003)
Essential (2003)
Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (2004)
Aqualung Live (2005)
Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson (2005)
Extended Versions (2006)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2007)
The Best Of Acoustic Jethro Tull (2007)
Living With The Past/Nothing Is Easy (2008)
This Was (expanded) (2008)
Nothing Is Easy - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (2004/2008)
The Anniversary Collection/A New Day Yesterday (2008)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2008)
Live At Madison Square Garden (2009)
Christmas Album (2009)
Live In Switzerland 2003 (LP) (2014)
A Passion Play - An Extended Performance (2014)
War Child - 40th Anniversary Theatre Edition (2014)
Minstrel In The Gallery - 40th Anniversary La Grande Edition (2015)

Living With The Past (DVD) (2002)
A New Day Yesterday: 1969-1994 - The 25th Anniversary Collection (VID/DVD) (1994/2003/4)
Nothing Is Easy - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (DVD) (2005) Live At Montreux 2003 (DVD) (2008)
Jack In The Green - Live In Germany (DVD) (2008)
Live In Bethlehem, PA, 2003 (DVD) (2008)
Their Full Authorized Story (DVD) (2009)
Live At AVO Session 2008 (DVD) (2009)
Live At Madison Square Garden (DVD) (rec 1978, rel 2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: December 20th 2014
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website:
Hits: 1909
Language: english


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